Now that their latest album Girls, Like Wolves, has been released to the world, the fun is truly set to begin for Calgary rock ‘n’ roll duo Miesha and the Spanks.
Produced by fellow Canadian rocker Ian Blurton, there is a certain rawness and scrappiness to the songs on Girls, Like Wolves that should appeal to fans of guitar-driven rock bands such as earlier material from the Black Keys as well as Blurton’s former band C’mon.
Performing at the Esquire Tavern next Thursday night, Miesha and the Spanks have undergone an evolution that has been interesting, to say the least. With their 2008 self-titled debut EP and 2009’s Mmmade For Me, the group’s sound was closer to country and twang. A 2010 EP as well as 2011’s Love Split signalled a move towards the band’s current sound however it is Girls, Like Wolves that is perhaps the group’s most definitive statement yet.
Miesha Louie tells the Times & Transcript that keeping the group’s music as bare bones as possible is their primary goal.
Consisting only of Louie on guitar and Stuart Bota on drums, “The band had originally started as an extension of an acoustic project,” she says. “When the band started, we definitely had more of an alt-country and folk flavour to what we were doing. As I got to practising with different drummers, our sound started to get heavier. I picked up an electric guitar and even had an organist in the band at one point but even then, there was more going on than what I really wanted to hear. I only wanted the basics which is how we arrived at only having the two of us in the band.”
Despite only numbering two in the group, Louie says that they have little difficulty filling any potential empty space when it comes to their live show.
“We are so used to playing together at this point that we are always aware of the potential for having to work to fill that space live. At this point, it just kind of happens naturally rather than us having to consciously worry about it, which is great.”
For the making of Girls, Like Wolves, Louie, Bota and Blurton retreated to a cabin on Lower Kananaskis Lake in Alberta. Without the pressure of being in a traditional recording studio looming over them, the band members were free to stretch or shorten their days as they saw fit. The relaxed atmosphere sat well with all involved.
“We have never been able to spend so much working on a record,’ she says, before noting that the entire album was cut in a relatively quick span of six days.
“The surroundings were amazing, if only because we could work at our own pace. The first half of our days would often consist of playing around with ideas and working on song structures. We could then work as late into the night as we wanted to. It was definitely the most relaxed we have been while making an album. Having the option to take off on a hike through the Rocky Mountains at any given point was just amazing.”
Louie says getting a producer like Blurton was, in retrospect, a wise move on the band’s part. While the duo had typically made albums without outside assistance, a desire to reach a greater audience was the primary driving forces behind asking Blurton to man the recording console.
“We always wanted to maintain a very hands-on approach to the band and as such, we never really thought that we needed a producer,’ Louie says. “We simply reached a point where we wanted to make a really good record but also wanted to try to push ourselves to a new level. I can definitely feel the difference in these songs and in the record.”
What: Miesha & the Spanks with Pity, Savage Young & Blotto
When: Thursday, Sept. 12, 9 p.m.
Where: Esquire Tavern, 2 Reade St., Moncton
Article published in the September 6, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript